State backs expansions for 2 Boston charter schools

Boston Collegiate and Boston Preparatory charter schools received the green light Tuesday from state officials to move forward with expansion plans, while the academically struggling Boston Green Academy will be on probation up to three more years.

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, which held its monthly meeting at Bridgewater State University, approved the expansion of the two charter schools in a 6-to-3 vote. The dissenting votes were cast by Margaret McKenna, Mary Ann Stewart, and Ed Doherty.


Boston Prep in Hyde Park will add 300 seats, while Boston Collegiate in Dorchester will get 35 seats. The two schools beat out five other charter schools in Boston vying for the seats.

State officials believe this will be the last time they will be able to add charter-school seats in Boston because the city has reached a state limit on the number of students who can attend charter schools. That limit is governed by a restriction that no more than 18 percent of a district’s “net school spending” to go to charter-school tuition.

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The state board unanimously approved extending probation for Boston Green Academy in Brighton, based on a recommendation by Mitchell Chester, state commissioner of elementary and secondary education. The in-district charter school will have until December 2019 to “demonstrate significant and sustained academic improvement in math, English and science.”

Failure to comply could result in the school losing its operating license. Consequently, the school must keep $15,000 in escrow to cover any potential costs associated with closing.

The school, which originally went on probation in 2014 , has made some strides in elevating the performance of students in its high school program, but has struggled with rolling out its three-year-old middle school program, raising a new set of concerns with state officials about the quality of the school’s academic programs.

James Vaznis can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globevaznis.
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